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 In Lifestyle, Lifestyle Property Management

Marshall White Property Management – Renting Out Your Own Home

Our Marshall White Property Management team has noticed a big uptick in homeowners considering renting out their own homes for the first time.

The pandemic has had an enormous impact on where and how people choose to live. With many of us considering new lifestyle or location opportunities, the Marshall White Property Management team has noticed a big uptick in homeowners considering renting out their own homes for the first time.

Reasons to rent out your principal place of residence may be to move interstate or overseas, to upgrade, downsize, sea-change, tree-change, or perhaps to ‘try out’ a new area or style of living before committing to buying or selling.

There is much to consider, and often the biggest concern is that a Renter won’t look after your property the way you do. And what if your circumstances change and you need to move back in to your home before the lease is up?

According to Paula Matlock, Director, Property Management, there are certain rights that apply to owners who rent out their own homes and it’s important they stipulate in the lease agreement that the property was their principal place of residence in the period immediately before it was rented out.

“There are instances where the owner can issue the Renters with a 14-day notice to vacate on the grounds they need to occupy the premises as opposed to 60 or 90 days which are required under other sections of RTA and there are also rights around renting out a premises if children (under 16) are involved. For specific details please see the link at the end of this article,” Paula explains.

So what other factors should home owners consider before renting out their homes? Marshall White Business Development Manager Neil Harris looks at what homeowners should consider before deciding to become a Residential Rental Provider (RRP) and how Marshall White Property Managers work hard to ensure your home will be returned to you at the end of the tenancy in excellent condition (minus wear and tear!).

A Renter never looks after a property as you do your own. Agree or disagree?

NH: Disagree. Our Renters are often previous owner occupiers, or they may be an RRP themselves, or a very house-proud person choosing to rent for whatever reason. Most, if not all, rely on good references from agents to keep renting and therefore they have to maintain and upkeep a property as if it were their own. There are also different perceptions of cleanliness, so even if a Renter isn’t of the same standard as you, by regular routine inspections and advising the Renter of any concerns, we can help minimise any issues at the end of a tenancy. Marshall White carries out regular inspections during the tenancy, provide a very detailed written and photographed condition report at the start, and a comprehensive final inspection at the end. We also do very thorough due diligence (application processing) prior to discussing an application with our owners.

What is ‘fair wear and tear’?

NH: We have to expect different ‘fair wear and tear’ with different tenancies. A larger family will usually come with more wear and tear than say a single person. Pets may come with more wear and tear, but we also have to understand we cannot discriminate against children or pets. Light scuff marks on walls, furniture dents or traffic marks on carpets, discolouring of grout or caulking in showers, light surfaces scratches on timber floors can all be considered ‘fair wear and tear’. The fact is that new properties do not stay new – as soon as people live in them, they age and will show signs of being lived in. Just like a new car presents differently to a car that has done some mileage over the years.

What can you claim from the bond? 

NH: Any damages caused within the home during the time of tenancy that was not evidentially there when it commenced and that is considered beyond ‘fair wear and tear’. Or any malicious damages caused by a Renter or a Renter’s visitor.

What can a Renter do in terms of alterations and modifications?

NH: Renters are able to make modifications, within reason, to some parts of the home, however permission always needs to be asked first and usually the Renter will need to reinstate the property back to its original condition at the end of the tenancy. Full details on list of alterations or modifications listed on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.

What can an Owner do if things change, and they need to move back in?  

NH: During a tenancy you can ask the Property Manager to try to negotiate by mutual agreement however you may need to offer some form of compensation for the Renter to agree to move on. Usually though, if you are in a fixed term agreement with a Renter, the lease agreement stands unless a mutual agreement can be agreed upon. For further information visit Consumer Affairs Victoria website.

How do I prepare my home to ensure it meets the ‘minimum standards’ required to rent it out? 

NH: With the changes to the Residential Tenancies Act that came into effect earlier this year, all properties must meet ‘minimum standards’.  Our team at Marshall White will help advise you on what you need to do to ensure your property meets these standards – and you can also refer to the Consumer Affairs Victoria. Our team will also give advice on presentation and cleanliness. The better a property is presented, the more chance it has of achieving the highest possible rental and will also help to attract high-calibre Renters. The way a property is presented at the start of a tenancy really does set the tone or standard of how someone will look after it.  It certainly sets the standard of how we expect it to be handed back, (minus fair wear and tear, of course).

If you need any further assistance or have any questions, please contact our Marshall White Property Management Team (03) 9822 8711.

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